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mobile payment

Mobile payments: 10 years to reinvent the wheel?

Mobile payments for train travel was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003, but has not reached London yet

Mobile payments: Tokyo (mobile SUICA) vs. London (OYSTER)

Mobile payments are big: Reuters estimates that the mobile payment market will be about US$ 1000 Billion by 2016, and in Japan just a single railway line achieves already now several US$ billion in mobile payments per year.

Mobile payments in London:

On July 17, 2012 The Wall Street Journal reports, that as far as Transport for London is concerned, there is no viable mobile payment solution at this time:

  • Transport for London sees no way to use mobile payments at ticket barriers at this time, because the technology is not advanced enough
  • London’s state-of the art mobile payment transactions take longer than 500 milli-seconds which is too slow for Transport for London requirements

Mobile payments in Tokyo:

While no viable solution has yet been found in London, in Tokyo millions of people use “mobile SUICA” mobile payments every day at Tokyo’s rail, subway, tram lines and buses:

  • mobile payments at ticket barriers were first demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 (photo below shows a demonstration at a trade show in Tokyo in 2004)
  • “mobile SUICA” mobile payments were commercially introduced to the public since January 28, 2006
  • payment transactions take 100 milli-seconds or less, which would fulfill Transport for London’s speed requirements
  • in addition mobile SUICA also has a full e-money function, and can be used at 1000s of stores all over Japan for payments, and for 1000s km of high-speed trains all over the main island of Japan, between Hakata and Aomori.

Mobile payments: Why does it take at least ten years to reinvent the mobile payment wheel in London?

Why is it that a problem the solution of which was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 and put to commercial use every day since January 28, 2006 without any problems, has not yet been solved in London even today?

The answer to this question is of course complex, and you will find elements of a discussion of this question on pages 185-188 of our mobile payment report (click here for free download which includes pages 185 – 188, pdf-file).

In our opinion the answer for this huge delay even today in the age of globalization and internet is a combination of:

  • human nature and
  • the huge communication gap and disconnect between European organizations and companies and Japanese organizations and companies and
  • the totally different way in which banking systems, payment systems, and also the commercial structure and way of thinking of transportation companies are organized regulated in EU vs Japan.

Mobile payments in Japan vs Apple Pay

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2014/09/16/why-apple-pay-isnt-as-revolutionary-as-it-seems.html

We have been working on mobile payment and e-money issues here in Tokyo for about 10 years or longer, and you may be interested in some of our reports:

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media Mobile QR codes Urban

SuiPo – linking posters to mobile phones and IC cards

JR-East introduced SuiPo (Suica Poster).

People who want to participate need to register and link their plastic SUICA card, or their mobile SUICA (wallet phone with installed SUICA application) with a registered mobile or PC email address.

Whenever a registered participants touches the SUICA reader/writer on the side of a poster, links to a campaign homepage, coupons, event announcements or other information is sent to the registered PC or mobile phone email address.

The SuiPo system puts interactivity into posters and allows the advertiser to build an opt-in data base of interested people and to interact with them.

SuiPo = SuicaPoster: linking mobile phones and smartphones to posters for interactive advertising
SuiPo = SuicaPoster: linking mobile phones and smartphones to posters for interactive advertising

More about SUICA: Download our SUICA report

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Categories
mobile payment

PASMO: IC cards for transport

On Sunday, March 18, 2007, about 100 transportation companies in the Tokyo region switched to the near-field electronic money and payment system PASMO. Electronic money is a new battle field which JR-East pioneered with SUICA. Seven & I is still to throw it’s weight into the battle – read about today’s status of the electronic money marketplace in our “Mobile Payment and Keitai Credit” report.

A new multi-billion dollar power? Here is the character for PASMO: with an antenna on the hat, a pocket on the chest to store PASMO away, and wheels on the shoes, and in cherry-blossom pink… Does this cherry-blossom-pink guy look like he represents a new US$ multi-billion economic power?

PASMO - near field smart card for fare payment in Tokyo region
PASMO – near field smart card for fare payment in Tokyo region – started Sunday, March 18, 2007 and exceeded all expectations

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Categories
QR codes

Mickey mouse and Disneychannel use QR-Codes

Disneychannel places advertisements with huge QR-code on Tokyo’s roofs. People passing by point their mobile phones at Mickey’s QR-code, and the mobile phone takes them to Disneychannel’s mobile site.

QR codes were developed in the 1990s by Toyota affiliate Denso-Wave to manage car parts – today they are by far the best way to link mobile phones to almost anything. In many applications QR codes are cheaper, easier, more flexible and more secure than RFID and NFC.

If you need more information about QR-codes and their business applications, download our report here (pdf-file) or

Disney and Mickey mouse love QR codes - Mickey's QR codes on Tokyo roof tops
Disney and Mickey mouse love QR codes – Mickey’s QR codes on Tokyo roof tops take you to Disney’s mobile site

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Categories
QR codes

European Central Bank (ECB) uses QR-codes

QR codes were developed in the 1990s to manage car parts – today they are by far the best way to link mobile phones to almost anything. In many applications QR codes are cheaper, easier, more flexible and more secure than RFID and NFC.

The European Central Bank (based in Frankfurt) manages the EURO, is one of the world’s most important central banks, and uses QR-codes to link traditional PC-webpages to mobile pages.

If you need more information about qr-codes and their business applications, download our report here (pdf-file) or

European Central Bank uses QR codes
European Central Bank uses QR codes

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Categories
mobile payment

NFC prepaid fare cards are Nikkei Marketing Journals most popular product of the year 2006

Annual Nikkei Marketing Journal (NMJ) ranking list of most successful products

NFC prepaid fare cards ranked near the top of most popular products for 2006

Every year Nikkei Marketing Journal publishes a ranking list of the most successful products of the past year in the form Sumo wrestling results are traditionally displayed: there is a Western side and an Eastern side, winners at the top are displayed in much larger print than also rans at the bottom as in Sumo rankings.

IC tickets are the “Ooseki” (second place) winners on the Eastern side of the Sumo ranking of hit products for 2006.

On March 18, 2007, more than 100 transportation companies of the Tokyo region including 25 train operators which serve a population of around 30 million will introduce PASMO IC-Tickets. Introduction of PASMO will increase market share for IC-tickets and ecash in Japan – and globally.

Read more in the latest edition of our Suica and RFID-Ticket report.

RFID tickets such as SUICA make it to the top of the NIKKEI marketing ranking list in 2006
RFID tickets such as SUICA make it to the top of the NIKKEI marketing ranking list in 2006

Mobile payments Japan, e-money and mobile credit (200 pages, pdf file):

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Categories
mobile payment

PASMO: IC cards for transport

On March 18, 2007, more than 100 transportation companies (26 railway companies and 75 bus companies) – moving 30 million people of the Tokyo region – will switch to the IC card ticketing and e-cash system named “PASMO”. PASMO will interoperate and partially compete with SUICA.

Preparations go back more than 20 years, when Japan’s national railways started research on IC cards for ticketing. SUICA IC-card tickets were introduced commercially in November 2001 at 424 JR-EAST rail stations in the Tokyo region.

Tokyo’s PASMO combined with SUICA is likely to develop into one of the world’s biggest electronic payment and e-cash systems.

PASMO RFID fare card for the Tokyo region
PASMO RFID fare card for the Tokyo region

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